Correlation of HER-2 status with estrogen and progesterone receptors and histologic features in 3,655 invasive breast carcinomas

Am J Clin Pathol. 2005 Apr;123(4):541-6. doi: 10.1309/YMJ3-A83T-B39M-RUT9.


We studied the inverse relationship between HER-2 and estrogen (ER) and progesterone (PR) receptors using HER-2 testing and correlated HER-2 status with histologic features in 3,655 unselected invasive breast carcinomas. Immunohistochemical analysis for ER, PR, and HER-2 and fluorescence in situ hybridization for HER-2 were performed. ER and PR expression were decreased significantly in HER-2+ tumors compared with HER-2- tumors (ER, 49.1% vs 78.17%; PR, 24.3% vs 53.13%). Even among HER-2+ tumors, the rate of ER or PR expression in high-grade tumors was significantly decreased compared with intermediate-grade tumors. HER-2 was positive in 10.87% of grade 2 and 27.84% of grade 3 ductal carcinomas and negative in all grade 1 ductal carcinomas. HER-2 overexpression or amplification essentially was limited to grades 2 and 3 ductal carcinomas and correlated inversely with ER or PR expression. Although ER or PR expression is decreased in HER-2+ tumors, a substantial proportion of them still express ER or PR.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / biosynthesis*
  • Receptors, Estrogen / biosynthesis*
  • Receptors, Progesterone / biosynthesis*


  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • Receptor, ErbB-2